Saturday, December 31, 2005

Alec Baldwin's 2006 Predictions

Most of the predictions on hears at this time of year are almost assuredly wrong and to be readily dismissed. That is not the case when some with almost flawless insight ventures forth with his crystal ball. You will have to read the entire essay to get the full flavor and brilliance, but here is a sample.
My prediction for 2006 is a multiple, all connected politically. I predict that another barrage of fierce storms and hurricanes will so disturb the American people, that the Democrats will take the Senate in the '06 election and whittle away at the House in those races as well. Whether those storms can be attributed to global warming conditions or more normal meterological cycles will not matter.

Bagdad Bob

We all remember Baghdad Bob fondly from his pronouncements on TV as the U.S. military marched into Iraq during the initial phase of the war. I just learned of a web site devoted entirely to his most famous declarations. The link is here. This is a sample.
  • "We have them surrounded in their tanks"
  • "I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad."
  • "I speak better English than this villain Bush"
Well, maybe he wasn't always wrong.

Friday, December 30, 2005

I like coffee, but......

Would you pay $175 for a pound of coffee beans which had passed through the backside of a furry mammal in Indonesia? . . .

Kopi Luwak beans from Indonesia are rare and expensive, thanks to a unique taste and aroma enhanced by the digestive system of palm civets, nocturnal tree-climbing creatures about the size of a large house cat. . . .

Despite being carnivorous, civets eat ripe coffee cherries for treats. The coffee beans, which are found inside of the cherries, remain intact after passing through the animal.

Civet droppings are found on the forest floor near coffee plantations. Once carefully cleaned and roasted, the beans are sold to specialty buyers. . . . So far, most of the orders have been from California.

Idiocy to look for in 2006

This is not a prediction. It is an unfortunate fact. The trial lawyers will file suit next year against Coca-Cola and Pepsi. It (tort bar) wants to ban them from selling soft drinks to children--especially in schools. They are looking at profits from these suits to a degree similar to those they reaped from tobacco. In fact they claim it is just as egregious to put soft drink machines in schools as placing cigarette machines in schools. The ultimate goal is to portray Americans love for sugary drinks and fattening food as an illness brought about by greedy and evil corporations seeking to deceive us into getting fat without knowing it is caused by what we eat.
McDonald's has already started putting nutritional information on their products. They aren't doing this because they want some 9 year old to know that a double cheese burger has calories, but they want to be able to point to this in court some day as proof that they labelled french fries. This didn't help cigarette makers much in court, but it did some good in public relations. The action of the lawyers is bad enough, but the reaction of juries is maybe even worse. Too many of our citizens would rather displace blame to an evil company rather than acknowledge that we should be smart enough to know when our pants get tight is maybe related to eating too much. Sad.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mark Steyn on Arnold's Austria "Problem"

When Arnold decided to let someone who killed 4 people in cold-blood die of lethal injection, his home town of Graz, Austria not only disagreed with his decision, they accused him of committing some sort of state crime. Arnold told them to go jump a stump and furthermore they could take his name off their stadium and forget he ever lived there. Here is a wonderful link to Mark Steyn's review of the situation and a taste of it is given below. Read it all:

One day, a few years after the Trapps skedaddled out of there, a young man was born near Graz. His name was Arnold and he worked out every day and he went to America and became Governor of California and one morning he had to make a decision on whether or not to commute the death sentence of a multiple murderer called Tookie Williams. And he decided instead to let Tookie’s execution go ahead.

And back in his old stomping grounds of Graz the politicians went bananas. In the old days, when some local lad made good and became Fuhrer of another state and started killing people, the hometown crowd couldn’t wait to have a big ol’ Anschluss with him. But times change and contemplating Arnold’s reign of terror his fellow Grazis decided they wanted to disAnschluss themselves from him. Outraged by Tookie’s demise, Social Democratic and Green councilors and MPs immediately took action. Or what passes for “action” in European politics these days.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What I learned today

The joint resolution which passed the congress with but one dissenting vote onSeptember 14, 2001 was the equivalent of a formal declaration of war. The Supreme Court held in 1800 (Bas vs. Tingy) and again in 1801 (Talbot vs. Seaman) that Congress could formally authorize war by joint resolution without passing a formal declaration of war.
Section 1811 of the FISA statute which all the liberals are holding sacred as evidence that Bush broke the law and could even be impeached for recognizes that during a period of authorized war the President must have some authority to engage in electronic surveillance "without a court order". There is a question of whether or not Congress had the power to limit such authorization to 15 days. This will be a matter for the courts if someone challenges it, but it seems to me somewhat problematic to assume the courts will get past the logic which would allow Congress to say the President could only attack an enemy for 15 days, for example. That is why all Presidents have refused to follow that part of the FISA statute.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The U.S. Senate at Work

A Senate resolution condemning the president of Iran for anti-Semitic comments he made earlier this month is riling its Republican sponsors on Capitol Hill. They claim Senate Democrats forced them to strip language from the document expressing support for self-determination and a national referendum in the country.

Senator [Rick] Santorum, a Republican of Pennsylvania, drafted the resolution after a December 14 speech in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a "myth" and suggested Israel be relocated to Europe, Canada, or Alaska. In its original form, the statement condemned the remarks, demanded an apology, and supported efforts by "the people of Iran to exercise self-determination" and hold a national referendum with oversight by international observers.

When Mr. Santorum moved to introduce the resolution last Friday, Senator [Ron] Wyden, a Democrat of Oregon, registered an unusual objection. According to the Congressional Record, Mr. Wyden told Mr. Santorum on the Senate floor that he was objecting to the resolution because his Democratic colleagues in the Senate had asked him too. Mr. Wyden did not say who asked him to issue the objection.

"While I personally am vehemently opposed to the statements that have been made by the president of Iran," Mr. Wyden said, "I have been asked by the members on this side of the aisle to object, and I do so object."

Monday, December 26, 2005

Congressional Black Caucus

The CBC was just outraged that President Bush allowed blacks in New Orleans to suffer the ravages of Katrina disproportionately. He was slow to respond and then didn't do enough. CBCF then launched its own relief fund on Sept. 21, with a stated goal of raising $1 million to help Gulf Coast residents rebuild their lives. As Cybercast News Service previously reported, the CBCF claimed immediate success, telling reporters on Sept. 21 that it had already received $700,000 in corporate pledges. But on Wednesday, exactly three months after the news conference launching the CBCF relief fund, Rice told Cybercast News Service that the Foundation has actually raised “somewhere in the neighborhood of $350 to $400,000.” She added that the distribution of the money would not begin until January or February of 2006 at the earliest.

Friday, December 23, 2005

These must be good

The Air Force's new F-22A Raptor is such a dominant fighter jet that in mock dogfights its pilots typically take on six F-15 Eagles at once.

Despite the favorable odds, the F-15s, still one of the world's most capable fighters, are no contest for the fastest radar-evading stealth jet ever built.

"The F-15 pilots, they are the world's best pilots," said Lt. Col. David Krumm, an F-22A instructor pilot. "When you take them flying against anyone else in the world, they are going to wipe the floor with them. It's a startling moment for them to come down here and get waylaid."

The F-22A officially became ready for combat this month with a squadron of 12 Raptors on standby for worldwide deployment at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Global Warming Puzzle

After a thousand years, blue mussels—helped along by warmer water temperatures—have returned to high-Arctic seas. Their comeback could have serious implications for Arctic ecosystems and may be a sign of climate change, according to scientists." (National Geographic News)

If they have returned, who drove all the SUVs to heat up the planet a thousand years ago?

Transit Strike

I am getting fed up with news about the transit strike in New York City. If the mayor is too cowardly to put an end to an action which is not only illegal but also detrimental to the city, the residents deserve what they get. There should not even be a union allowed for transit workers, policemen and firefighters. If they never get the subways running, I don't care. I do wish the predominate media would realize this is not a national story, however. Let the gridlock continue.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A new theory

There is a theory out on the internet that the Bush spy thing is based on new technology that we wanted to keep under wraps. The idea that Bush needed to avoid the courts when he could go into the courts after the fact makes no sense. So maybe the NSA wiretaps were using a new kind of capability; ones the terror suspects may not have known about; one that might even make the FISA court uncomfortable, somehow. It is known that Senator Graham who was once the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee said he came away from the briefing with the idea that it was a change in technology rather than policy. Bill Keller, the New York Times editor who broke the story said he withheld certain technical details.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dems hate this picture

Bush's war on terror

This uproar over Bush's use of the NSA to listen in to communications between parties (U.S. citizens or not) with al Qaeda connections is a legal one. Does Bush have the authority to O.K. these or not? As we consider whether or not Bush is on some J. Edgar Hoover like escapade, we should keep in mind what the Congressional reaction to 9/11 was. On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress unanimously declared that ``the president has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism,'' and authorized ``all necessary and appropriate force'' against those involved in 9/11 or threatening future attacks.
Now I guess the question becomes one of whether or not Bush's use of intelligence methods to listen to certain conversations was necessary and appropriate. That is an argument the President should welcome.

Monday, December 19, 2005

For those with no worries

About 400 pounds of explosive material was stolen from a research facility in New Mexico, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed today.

The theft was discovered Sunday night by local authorities.

ATF agents are investigating the large theft from Cherry Enginering, a company owned by Chris Cherry, for decades the senior explosives scientist at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

Also, 2,500 detonators were missing from a storage explosive container, or magazine, in the name of Cherry Engineering.

The theft is one of the largest reported cases from a facility in the United States in the last decade ending 2004. During that time, a total of about 1,000 pounds was reported stolen from government facilities in 14 reported incidents. It is unknown whether there is any connection to terrorism.

A special agent at ATF said the incident was unusual because such high-powered material was targeted.

One hundred and fifty pounds of the plastic explosive compound C-4 and 250 pounds of undetectable "sheet explosives" — a DuPont flexible explosive material that can be hidden in books and letters — were stolen in the burglary, which also included the theft of blasting caps.

Burglars used a torch bar to break into the explosives containers and remove the material.

The missing material could potentially make numerous bombs.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Microbial Battery?

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst announced yesterday that they have built a novel device that uses bacteria to turn garbage into electricity.

At the heart of the advance, which will be described in the October issue of the journal Nature Biotechnology, is a newly discovered organism that is part of a group of bacteria known as "iron breathers," so called because they rely on iron instead of oxygen. Yesterday's announcement is part of a broader effort to tap the unusual properties of various iron breathers, now being discovered across the far reaches of the planet, to generate power or clean up oil spills or other pollutants.

As it has become clear that the world will need energy alternatives, some researchers have turned to the idea of finding new ways of releasing the enormous amount of energy trapped in plants and other organic matter. This is the idea behind ethanol, a fuel made from corn. But instead of using organic matter to make a fuel, the battery announced yesterday converts organic matter directly into electricity.

"We need people thinking outside of the box, and these researchers are clearly thinking outside the box," said Mark Finkelstein, group manager of bioprocess research and development at the government's National Bioenergy Center in Golden, Colo. "And this has shorter-term possibilities than the hydrogen research that is getting so much funding."

The battery relies on a colony of tiny bacteria, called Rhodoferax ferrireducens, first brought up from underground by a research drill in Oyster Bay, Va. The bacterium is unusual because it is able to completely break down sugars without using oxygen. In its natural environment, the bacterium breaks down sugars for energy and deposits electrons on iron as a byproduct.

The research team, which included UMass-Amherst postdoctoral research associate Swades Chaudhuri, placed these bacteria in a closed glass container with a sugar solution and a graphite electrode. As the bacteria ate the sugar, they took up residence on the electrode and began depositing electrons on it.

When the researchers connected a wire between the electrode and a separate electrode exposed to the air, a current started to flow.

Other researchers have built similar devices but they have been far less efficient at converting the sugar to electricity. Of all the electrons that could theoretically be moved by the process, the battery captured more than 80 percent, compared with less than 1 percent for a previous battery, according to the paper.

The Defense Department, which helped fund the research, is interested in the device because it could be used to run low-power antennas in remote locations without the need for replacing batteries, Lovley said. The electrode could be placed at the bottom of a pile of waste, along with a colony of the bacteria, which would thrive in the sugar-rich, oxygen-poor environment.

The biggest problem right now is the amount of power generated. The test battery generates just enough energy to power a calculator or a single Christmas tree light, Lovley said. Simply changing the electrode, so that more of the microbes can touch it, can increase the amount of power it generates.

Keep this in mind

There will be a lot of huffing and puffing by the liberal media in the next few days about how Bush abused his authority in regard to monitoring of communications of U.S. citizens by the NSA. As you evaluate the situation, keep in mind that the Fourth Amendment, according to the Supreme Court (Lewis Powell writing) forbids "domestic security surveillances . . . conducted solely within the discretion of the executive branch." Fine. But as Powell also noted, that holding didn't apply to "the president's surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or without this country." So, if Bush listened in on a foreigner talking to a U.S. citizen, he was within the "law" acting alone and he was certainly in the clear if he consulted with others in the legislative or judicial branches.

Dorothy Parker

I have recently read two variations of a quote by the widely quoted Dorothy Parker.

"If all the girls at Brandeis were laid end-to-end I wouldn't be surprised".

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end-to-end I wouldn't be a bit surprised".

I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't other variations of this and it hardly matters the subject of the original quip. Wouldn't you love to sit next to her at dinner?

Jay Leno on the Iraq Elections

  • Today they held the elections in Iraq. The results are slowly coming in. The only thing we know for sure at this point is that Al Gore lost again.
  • President Bush said that we may not know the results of the Iraqi election until January. That’s still quicker than Florida.
  • Iraqi’s had to choose from 7,655 candidates. Imagine those people in Palm Beach with a ballot with 7,655 candidates. Their heads would explode. How many chads would be hanging there?
  • Why I am staying with XM-Satellite Radio

    New York “shock-jock” Howard Stern will start his morning program January 9th on Sirius Satellite Radio—and he promises the uncensored setting will allow his inner-deviant to fully reveal itself via not one but two channels on the Sirius network.

    Says Howard: “If it's weighing a guy's bowel movement, I can do it. If I want to be gross, I can be gross.”

    Mark Steyn analyzes the Democrats

    Here is Mark Steyn's latest. Brilliant as always. This is a sample.

    The Iraq election's over, the media did their best to ignore it, and, judging from the rippling torsos I saw every time I switched on the TV, the press seem to reckon that that gay cowboy movie was the big geopolitical event of the last week, if not of all time. Yes, yes, I know: They're not, technically, cowboys, they're gay shepherds, but even Hollywood isn't crazy enough to think it can sell gay shepherds to the world. And the point is, even if I was in the mood for a story about two rugged insecure men who find themselves strangely attracted to each other in a dark transgressive relationship that breaks all the rules, who needs Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger when you've got Howard Dean and Abu Musad al-Zarqawi? Yee-haw! And, if that sounds unfair, pick almost any recent statement by a big-time Dem cowboy and tell me how exactly it would differ from the pep talks Zarqawi gives his dwindling band of head-hackers -- Dean arguing that America can't win in Iraq, Barbara Boxer demanding the troops begin withdrawing on Dec. 15, John Kerry accusing American soldiers of terrorizing Iraqi women and children, Jack Murtha declaring that the U.S. Army is utterly broken. Pepper 'em with a handful of "Praise be to Allahs" and any one of those statements could have been uttered by Zarqawi.

    Friday, December 16, 2005


    The following is from The Club for Growth:

    One of the many things that fires me up about big government spending is the protection of domestic sugar. For several reasons, lawmakers in Washington coddle this industry even though it is economically destructive.

    Case in point: Domestic sugar prices are sky-rocketing because of Hurricane Katrina. This report shows that domestic sugar recently traded for 42 cents a pound and peaked at 72 cents. In almost any other market, this wouldn’t happen because foreign production would stabilize world supply. But because of sugar quotas, we can’t readily access the world market where the recent spot price for sugar was quoted at 15 cents a pound.

    Eventually, candymakers and other large users of sugar will be forced to move overseas if they want to remain competitive. This will inevitably result in job losses here at home. That’s ironic, of course, because the protection of sugar was meant to protect jobs lost to foreign competition in the sugar industry. And you better believe that Democrats will harp ON and ON and ON about how companies leaving America are Benedict Arnolds.

    I’ve got to take a chill pill. This has gotten me all riled up and it’s barely past 9am.

    Who is leaving?

    A guy on one of those cable news interview shows made the point yesterday that you don't hear often and makes complete sense. He said that if things were as bad in Iraq as you read in the papers, there would be a mass exodus of Iraqiis from the country rather than a large net immigration of exiles back into the country.

    Good News

    The following is good news for those of us in the appropriate age group.

    WASHINGTON Dec 15, 2005 — Federal health advisers endorsed a proposed vaccine on Thursday to help battle an often-excruciating disease that afflicts as many as 1 million adults every year.

    The Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel on vaccines said the vaccine for shingles appeared to be safe and effective in people aged 60 and older.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

    Message from Iran

    The following is a quote from an aide to the President of Iran who recently denied the holocaust and called for the removal of Israel from the map. After reading this and considering Iran's efforts to continue nuclear weapon development, I wonder about two things. First, why do our major new outlets seem to be more concerned with why Bush went into Iraq and the second is how long will Israel wait before taking care of this threat on its own.

    The President’s chief strategist, Hassan Abbassi, has come up with a war plan based on the premise that “Britain is the mother of all evils” – the evils being America, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, the Gulf states and even Canada, all of whom are the malign progeny of the British Empire. “We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization,” says Mr Abbassi. “There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them… Once we have defeated the Anglo-Saxons the rest will run for cover.”

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Bugatti Veyron

    I just learned there is such a thing as the Bugatti Veyron. I doubt if I will ever see one and certainly never own one. The Bugatti is made by VW and will sell for $1 million. It is billed as the fastest factory produced car and I can certainly see that. It can go from 0 to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and can hit a top speed of 252.9 mph. There is a rear-mounted 16-cylinder engine which is rated at 1001 horsepower and spoilers to prevent the car from spinning out of control. The company hopes to sell 300 of these cars in the next 5 years and will lose money on each of them. For this reason, they will make fewer than one per week. The sense of this escapes me, but I predict some will just have to have one of these.

    CDC Priorities

    There is an interesting byplay going on in Congress as it limps into a Christmas break. Much of it indirectly involves the Centers of Disease Control in Atlanta. It turns out they are building a $60 million tourist center. This is to be a big, glitzy facility with Japanese Gardens, waterfalls, and fountains with features such infectious disease related things such as rats, monkeys, a giant mosquito and so forth. In order to get this through Congress, the disease fighters in Atlanta propose naming the buildings after two sitting Senators who are funneling money their way--Harkin (Democrat) and Specter (Republican). The House of Representatives is objecting to the naming of the buildings after sitting politicians and have countered that the buildings be named after Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks. I find that amusing, but what is not amusing is that none of the politicians are against building the tourist center in the first place.
    My favorite Senator, Coburn of Oklahoma, has discovered that there is $210 million of unspent construction money in their $1.5 billion budget that has not been spent. They also have $68 million each year in the HHS budget (of which the CDC is a part) that Coburn thinks could be better used to fight diseases. He probably won't get far, however, since he previously tried to shift some of the CDC construction budget to fight AIDS and it lost by a vote of 85-14 in the Senate.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

    Needle Fish from St. Thomas

    My poorly framed photo caused my main man Tyler to lose his head, but this is a nice needlefish which I caught just off the coast of St. Thomas last Wednesday. I also caught many other fish but I neglected my photography duties for the others.

    Cruel and inhuman?

    John McCain is determined to insert a requirement into some legislation which would establish the Army Field Manual as the standard for interrogations of terrorists we capture. It would specifically prohibit cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of those we capture. This sounds good, but McCain can't explain what it means. He can't specify which of numerous procedures would be affected by his language.Sleep deprivation? Temperature fluctuations? Position stress such as kneeling for long periods? Waterboarding which simulates suffocation? All of these can be considered degrading and cruel by someone. When challenged by Cheney and others, McCain states that if push comes to shove and some extraordinary circumstance warrants the use of deviation from his prohibited practices, the President or anyone below that level should just go ahead and do what is necessary. This is obviously a moral hypocrisy. Absurd. How absurd is shown when one considers a few days ago one of our hellfire missles delivered by an unmanned aircraft killed a fellow named Hamza Rabia in Pakistan. He was an al Qaeda leader in a house with some others. Blown away. Nobody I know objected. What if he had been captured, however. If McCain had his way, we could not even subject him to loud rap music. Everyone knows that would be cruel, but worse than being blown to bits?

    I am sorry McCain suffered in a North Vietnam prison, but his concern over terrorists treatment doesn't square with common sense.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Economics in Action

    Michigan has the highest unemployment rate of any state not hit by Katrina, is last in income growth last year, has lost more people to other states, and the highest business taxes. Could those facts be related? Could be. To make matters worse, the Governor, Jennifer Granholm, wants to take the money she raises with the high business taxes and recruit more smoke stack industries like the automobile industry. She, therefore, wants to tax the productive businesses and bring in more industries like the steel and auto companies who are going south. Those of us living in the South can expect more new neighbors from Detroit.

    Corn Stoves

    I just read about a guy in Minneapolis who got tired of paying $400 per month to heat his house. He, therefore, bought a furnace from a manufacturer in Nebraska that burns corn. He pays an area farmer $1.60 per bushel to bring him a pickup truck load which he dumps into a plywood bin in his garage. Every morning the guy dumps a couple of pails into a hopper on top of his furnace and burns a little less than a bushel a day. There is almost no ash or soot and the cost is down below $60/month. You can buy either a stove to heat one room or a furnace that distributes heat to the entire house. There have been 30,000 sold this year.
    I wonder how long it will be before we hear of price gouging by farmers in the mid-west?

    Back from the cruise.

    Good to be home. If someone suggests you take a cruise on Costa....pass. Bed was bad, food below average, activities sparse, personnel not always helpful and so forth.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    Off to the sunny Caribbean

    Next week your geezer musings will be missing as I partake of the waters around the Virgin Islands.

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    It is all over

    This is the first time I have watched USC this year and there is no longer any suspense about this year's Heisman Trophy winner. Reggie Bush in a walk. The lad can play.

    Advice to democrats

    They won't listen, but the best chance the democrats have to regain political power is to help Bush win the war. If they attacked him on the right and called for a stronger military and a more vigorous prosecution of the Iraq and terror war, supported every effort he proposed through a unified message of support, the resulting success would leave Bush and the Republicans in the same position as the first Bush after he won decisively in Iraq. They would be left with a terrible fiscal mess, an inflated budget deficit, and no plan to make things better. The conservative base would be hard to unite and victory for the democrats would surely follow. They won't win if we feel national security is the most important issue. So be it.

    This is really sad

    This story is so sad I decided to just reprint it completely.

    HONOLULU, December 2, 2005 ( - Hawaii’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that 32-year-old Tayshea Aiwohi, whose son died two days after she smoked crystal methamphetamine on the day of his birth, was not guilty of manslaughter, overturning a previous court’s ruling.

    The court’s ruling was based on the legal notion that an unborn child is not a person under the law and so no person was harmed when Aiwohi used the drug. No US court has convicted a woman for the death of an unborn child due to abuse in the womb.

    City Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Kim, decried the legal fiction of non-personhood of the unborn saying, “"We continue to believe that babies such as Treyson Aiwohi deserve the protection of the law," he said. "And we also continue to believe that people like Tayshea Aiwohi doing what she did to her baby continue to deserve to suffer the consequences of the law for those actions."

    A report from the National Drug Intelligence Center, says that crystal methamphetamine, known as “ice” on the street, is Hawaii’s greatest drug threat. Honolulu had the highest percentage of adult male arrestees who tested positive for methamphetamine among cities reporting to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) program in 2000. The Center’s website says that abuse of the drug has caused many abusers to assault and even kill family members, including children.

    Aiwohi was shown during the court proceedings to have used the drug on the day of her son Treyson’s birth on July 15, 2001, and he died two days later. The city medical examiner's office found high levels of methamphetamine in Treyson’s blood.

    Associate Justice Paula Nakayama noted in her decision the irony that an "overwhelming majority" of other courts have upheld convictions of persons inflicting injury on pregnant women causing the death of the newborn child, but it is impossible to prosecute and convict the mother for similar behavior.

    The legal confusion caused by the acceptance of abortion on demand and the consequent refusal to recognize the existence of an unborn child, has created a set of irreconcilable conflicts in court cases of this kind. Nakayama said that the "logical implication" of yesterday's decision is that a person cannot be prosecuted for causing the death of a child by injuring the pregnant mother.

    Friday, December 02, 2005

    Finally found the link

    Turns out it was the " 3.5 most fascinating Negroes of 2005". Read about them here.

    Verification being sought

    I haven't found the specific link to this story yet, but I understand there will soon be a Barbara Walters will soon have a TV special entitled "The 3.5 most interesting Negroes of 2005". Full report to follow.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    From Russia via the BBC

    Squirrels have bitten to death a stray dog which was barking at them in a Russian park, local media report.

    Passers-by were reportedly too late to stop the attack by the black squirrels in a village in the far east, which reportedly lasted about a minute.

    They are said to have scampered off at the sight of humans, some carrying pieces of flesh.

    A pine cone shortage may have led the squirrels to seek other food sources, although scientists are sceptical.

    The attack was reported in parkland in the centre of Lazo, a village in the Maritime Territory, and was witnessed by three local people.

    A "big" stray dog was nosing about the trees and barking at squirrels hiding in branches overhead when a number of them suddenly descended and attacked, reports say.

    "They literally gutted the dog," local journalist Anastasia Trubitsina told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

    "When they saw the men, they scattered in different directions, taking pieces of their kill away with them."

    Mikhail Tiyunov, a scientist in the region, said it was the first he had ever heard of such an attack.

    While squirrels without sources of protein might attack birds' nests, he said, the idea of them chewing at a dog to death was "absurd".

    "If it really happened, things must be pretty bad in our forests," he added.

    Komosmolskaya Pravda notes that in a previous incident this autumn chipmunks terrorised cats in a part of the territory.

    A Lazo man who called himself only Mikhalich said there had been "no pine cones at all" in the local forests this year.

    "The little beasts are agitated because they have nothing to eat," he said.

    Is this so terrible?

    Since we are at war and part of that war is to convince some of the people in Iraq to quit killing our soldiers, I am hard pressed to see anything wrong with putting favorable articles in the Iraq newspapers even if you have to pay some "reporter" to write them. Some of our press, like the New York Times, which has been known to simply make up news, is all upset and sadly our government seems to be anxious to find out if this is true. I hope it is true and furthermore, I hope it is working. Here is a portion of the article which you can read here:

    "The Sands Are Blowing Toward a Democratic Iraq," an article written this week for publication in the Iraqi press was scornful of outsiders' pessimism about the country's future.

    "Western press and frequently those self-styled 'objective' observers of Iraq are often critics of how we, the people of Iraq, are proceeding down the path in determining what is best for our nation," the article began. Quoting the Prophet Muhammad, it pleaded for unity and nonviolence.

    But far from being the heartfelt opinion of an Iraqi writer, as its language implied, the article was prepared by the United States military as part of a multimillion-dollar covert campaign to plant paid propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends, military contractors and officials said.

    Finally making some sense

    The government's decision to allow airline passengers to carry small scissors is part of a broader shift in airport security, focusing more on keeping explosives off planes and less on stopping another Sept. 11-type attack.

    Rep. John Mica , R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation Committee's aviation panel, applauded the decision as a welcome change in the mindset of the Transportation Security Administration.

    "They're trying to shift from shaking down little old ladies with scissors and knitting needles to looking at what the real threats are," Mica said. "Explosives are my major concern."

    Letter from a soldier in Iraq

    I watched Bush speaking on television last night. It was my first day off since arriving in theater one month ago.

    Please, America, listen to the man.

    The moment anyone puts a timetable on coalition forces leaving, we’ve lost the war. You can’t put a timetable on the good guys unless you can put one on the bad guys too. That’s ridiculous. You can’t put an exact timetable on training up the new Iraqi military and police forces. It would be irresponsible.

    No one wants American troops to keep dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know, because I’m one of those troops and I would prefer not to die here. On the other hand, and this is what you won’t hear from most mainstream media, if I do die over here, I’ll do so with few regrets. I wouldn’t be dying for a lie, as so many minstrels of misery and mischief keep spouting.

    Americans are dying in Iraq so Americans don’t have to die at home, or so that they can die of self-inflicted things like lung cancer and heart attacks instead of having a building blow up and crush them while they are inside it. Don’t kid yourself that things are otherwise. Keeping the fight in the enemy’s home court is exactly the right thing to do.

    It’s sad that so many Iraqis and others are dying over here. However, when you discover you have cancer the treatment is always the same - attack it at the source. You don’t wait for it to spread. And when is the last time you heard a doctor putting a limited timetable on cancer therapy? I can picture it in my mind. “Mr. Smith, we have seen some progress with your tumor. It’s shrinking. But we need to move on now. The timetable for treating you has passed. Good luck.”

    That’s what some people are trying to tell Iraq just as hope is looming on the horizon. And that disgusts me.

    Wednesday, November 30, 2005

    Iraq Yardstick

    How are things going in Iraq? The barometer I use is reports from the troops over there and coming back from there. The way I see it, if there was wide-spread dissatisfaction with how things were going, some sizeable minority of our military would be bitching about things and the liberal media would be focused on it like they were on Abu Gharib. That is not what I hear from the military. All the negatives are from democrat politicians and other Bush haters such as the main stream media.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2005

    Gift Cards

    More and more shoppers are deciding to just give those little plastic cards implanted with a dollar amount that the recipient can use to select merchandise at the store of origin. There are some advantages for the giver in that shopping is greatly simplified and wrapping is not a hassle. It implies more thoughtfullness than cash since you went to the specific store to get the card. The recipient is usually pleased to get the freedom to go shopping for something desired instead of returning something not wanted. These facts pale in comparison to how happy the store is to sell gift cards. First, most of them are used in the month following Christmas and the season is thereby not only extended, but the purchase is usually for more than the value of the card. So, the retailer wins with two store visits rather than the one. In addition, some 10% of the total amount spent on the cards (about $50 billion this year) is never redeemed. Depending on the state laws, this eventually becomes revenue for the retailer. How sweet is that?

    Bush's New Ideas

    Bush touted "an innovative approach" that returns Mexican illegals closer to their hometowns so they will be less likely to sneak in again. But the Border Patrol started doing it more than 50 years ago.

    "Technology can help an individual agent have broader reach and more effectiveness," the president said, citing the surveillance value of UAVs. What he didn't mention was that the government was shamed into using these drones by ordinary citizens frustrated with federal inaction who, more than two years ago, built their own drones and posted the aerial images on the Internet.

    Dick Armey's Take On His Party

    The Wall Street Journal has an Op-Ed piece written by Dick Armey who was the House Majority Leader from 1995 to 2003. I don't have a link to the article, but he mainly pointed out many of the things I have complained about in the past months. When the Republicans try to match the Democrats in spending and raising taxes, they are not only mismatched, but doomed to failure. He points to Colorado where the Governor, Bill Owens joined the dems in overturning the limit on state spending previously imposed by their constitution. Armey concludes that this killed any chance for Owens to run for President. It was here that Armey advanced one of his axioms. "make a deal with the devil and you're the junior partner".
    Armey, who was one of my heroes along with Newt Gingrich, goes on to point out that these runaway spending binges by Bush and the other Republicans were caused by political considerations. Bush didn't want to run for office being bashed by the dems for starving someone or some program. This lead to Armey's next axiom. "you can't get your finger on the problem if you've got it in the air."
    At the end of the piece, Armey points out that we who call ourselves conservative and Republican have to support permanent tax cuts, repeal the death tax, and control spending. It is obvious that for liberals to be elected they have to move toward us. Notice Hillary Clinton? This prompts the question of why Republicans want to act like them? A final Armey axiom. "when we act like us we win. When we act like them, we lose."

    Bush Misses Illegal Alien Boat Again

    Neal Boortz nailed the Bush speech yesterday on our immigration "policy". He started out building up the patrols on the border and then mentioned sending them home again. Here is some of it. Read it all.

    Same old, same old. It is impossible to stand there and say you're going to crack down on illegal immigration while at the same time say that you are going to reward people who broke our immigration laws. The president says it's not amnesty. Ok, now we've finally caught the president in a lie. OF COURSE it's amnesty! When you tell someone who has broken the law that you are not only going to ignore their illegal conduct, but you are actually going to reward them for it, then you have more than plain old garden variety amnesty, you have amnesty with perks!

    Monday, November 28, 2005

    Bush falls back into Harriet Meirs mode

    This is going to help Bush with his base not at all.

    President Bush today will call for a crackdown on illegal immigration, a move aimed at further rallying conservatives who recently cheered Mr. Bush's tough talk on Iraq and the Supreme Court. But the president will also renew his call for a program to allow Mexicans who have already entered the U.S. illegally to remain here for up to six years. That initiative has long angered conservatives who equate it with amnesty.

    Liberals won't like this.

    NEW YORK -- New York City public schools must let religious groups rent space for meetings on the same basis as other organizations, a federal judge ruled. The city's law department said it will appeal.
    Bronx Household of Faith, an evangelical congregation, has sought for years to rent space for Sunday worship in Public School 15. In May, the Justice Department's civil rights division filed a brief supporting the church.
    Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York earlier had taken the opposite side in the case.
    She based her latest ruling on the 2001 Supreme Court precedent in another New York case, Good News Club v. Milford Central School. There, the high court said schools' denial of rentals for after-class Bible clubs was unconstitutional under free-speech guarantees.

    Saturday, November 26, 2005

    Iraq Elections

    The elections in Iraq are coming on the 15th of December and the campaign has heated up. Unfortunately, it appears to be taking on a decidely American flavor. Here is an exerpt from an Iraqii which supports this view. You can read the whole thing here.

    "... people in the street think that candidates should focus more on their political platforms rather than on exchanging accusations and allegations.

    The other battlefield of electoral campaigns can be seen in the posters war. Tearing posters of other parties has become so common that there are specialized contractors who get paid to do this! And they either tear the posters or paste their client’s poster over them.
    One man who works in this field said to me “there are no more walls left in Baghdad and we had to buy a new set of tall ladders in order to reach the highest spots possible…” while a taxi driver felt sorry for the “money being wasted on these posters” and added “if they used this money to offer free clothes to the poor in this winter I’d give them my vote”.

    Aside from what parties put on their posters or say in the speeches they make, the people themselves are also using a portion of the walls to write whatever they like with or against this or that list; one funny line I saw yesterday said something that translates like this:

    Vote for Allawi and your wife will buy malawi (heavy bracelets of gold) and vote for the I’tilaf (the united alliance) and you’ll go back to the tlath-talaf (3,000 in reference to the old poor salaries that Saddam paid us). "

    Thursday, November 24, 2005

    Sounds good to me



    Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown.

    Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television. "I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false.

    If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said. Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country.

    Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should "clear off". "Basically, people who don't want to be Australians, and they don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off," he said.

    Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2005

    Mideast Protests

    Mark Steyn makes the very good point that we are seeing large protests in Jordan against Zarqawi but if the "occupation" is so unpopular in Iraq, where are the mass demonstrations against that? I'm not talking 200,000, or even 100 or 50,000. But, if there were just 1,500 folks shouting "Great Satan, go home!" in Baghdad or Mosul, it would be large enough for the media to do that little trick where they film the demo close up so it looks like the place is packed. Yet no such demonstrations take place.

    Sunday, November 20, 2005

    Hope this is correct

    The Elaph Arab media website reported on Sunday that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of the al-Qaida in Iraq terror group, may have been killed in Iraq on Sunday afternoon when eight terrorists blew themselves up in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

    The unconfirmed report claimed that the explosions occurred while coalition forces surrounded the house in which al-Zarqawi was hiding. American and Iraqi forces are looking into the report.

    Saturday, November 19, 2005

    Water Boarding

    Several times I have read that the liberals are all upset with the nasty Bush administration because they subject terrorists to a form of "torture" known as waterboarding. I didn't know what that was exactly until recently. Here is the description. You can decide if it so cruel that we should never use it to save American lives.

    Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt.

    According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in. They said al Qaeda's toughest prisoner, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, won the admiration of interrogators when he was able to last between two and two-and-a-half minutes before begging to confess.

    Friday, November 18, 2005

    Not Again!

    Well, it has really started. Yesterday, Congressman Murtha, a Viet Nam veteran from Pennsylvania, called for the U.S. to pull the troops out of Iraq. I thought we learned not to fight wars we didn't intend to win and that our troops can't be defeated but our politicians can be. Iraq citizens watch this stuff and since our disgraceful abandonment of the Kurds and others in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, they are bound to be skittish about committing to fight the insurgents who are certain to be keeping lists of those who collaborate with us now. If they decide to sit back and wait to see if we perservere, it will be harder to reach the stated objective of having Iraq fight their own insurgency. The problem is not so much a lone Congressman but the sad fact that we have an inarticulate President who can't seem to muster the words and tactics to rally the public to his cause. I am depressed by it all.

    Thursday, November 17, 2005

    Happy Birthday to William Buckley

    I just read a tribute to William Buckley. He is turning 80 and I just wish we could count on 80 more from this most talented observer of the scene in America. Here is one of my favorite anecdotes, but you can read the others here.

    In his speech to a large student crowd, Buckley talked at length about the China trip. I had just read his National Review article about the trip and observed how he artfully incorporated pieces of it into his speech. He fielded student questions following the speech from a microphone placed on the floor below the podium. One of my classmates, visibly drunk, approached the microphone to ask Buckley a killer question.

    "Mr. Buckley, Mr. Buckley, Mr. Buckley," he said as he warmed to his theme. "Do you really think the American involvement in Vietnam is right, or do you recognize that it's an imperialistic war where we're pursuing our own interests at the expense of the Vietnam people with no justification except the higher interests of American business and its friends in the Nixon administration..." and so on, at slightly greater length.

    "The former," Buckley responded.

    Trial Lawyers Again

    Several times I have pointed out how the slimy trial lawyers think more about their ability to garner greedy profits than the health of the rest of us. This is particularly apparent now in their opposition to indemnification of vaccine producers who are being asked to produce a vaccine to the avian flu. The bill in the Senate now is being opposed by Democrats at the behest of the slimy ones. You can read it here.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2005

    Bridges to nowhere

    Back when the appropriations for next years transportation projects were released, there was a lot of noise generated about a bridge in Sitka, Alaska which would cost some $220 million to build and connected an island with 50 inhabitants to the mainland and took the place of a 5 minute ferry ride. Of course, Senator Stevens was the big foot for this boondoggle in Congress with Congressman Young from there helping since he is Chairman of the Transportation Committee in the House. There was a lot of controversy about this, especially after Katrina caused so much damage that we seem obligated to make right at great expense. As I have blogged on before, my favorite Senator, Colburn of Oklahoma, tried to get the earmarked money for this infamous bridge removed and the money sent to Louisiana instead. No go. Senate voted it down flat.
    That move was tough to swallow politically since all logic was stood on its head. The guys in Washington are not stupid however. They have now removed the earmark. That is right. There is no more a designation that the money being sent to Alaska to build that bridge. Here is what you may not see in the fine print. The money is still going to Alaska to build that bridge, but it is up to the state to decide whether or not to build it. They could do something else with the money. Now, doesn't that make you feel better?

    Budgets Washington Style

    Well, here is where we are in Washington. Congress is trying to pass a budget and if you read the papers you would think there is this giant clash between Republicans and Democrats over some heartless cuts the Republicans are trying to impose on the poorest and most helpless of our citizens--those whose very lives are threatened by cuts in entitlements. These are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, student loans, food stamps, farm subsidies and other things which go up every year unless slowed legislatively. There are two important aspects to this. First, the Democrats want nothing to do with changes in the growth of such programs. Next the nasty Republicans are proposing nothing meaningful. Over the next 5 years the total Federal budget is expected to $13.855 trillion. The Republican plan would hack it all the way down to $13.800 trillion or 0.25% in 5 years. The new prescription drug plan adds some $300 billion to the budget over this time period. This is 6-times what this so-called deficit reduction plan would save. It is tryly laughable for the Republicans crow about their fiscal efforts and even more laughable for the Democrats to protest so loudly.

    Sand Sculpture

    This is a sand sculpture made by Chuck Ritchey, Sr. on the beach at Ocean City, Maryland. Since this is public land, the ACLU will surely be in court soon. Even though the tide takes them away every day, he is right back making another one.

    Good News

    A summit focusing on narrowing the digital divide between the rich and poor residents and countries opened Wednesday with an agreement of sorts on who will maintain ultimate oversight of the Internet and the flow of information, commerce and dissent. . . .

    Negotiators from more than 100 countries agreed late Tuesday to leave the United States in charge of the Internet's addressing system, averting a U.S.-EU showdown at this week's U.N. technology summit.

    Monday, November 14, 2005

    Here we go again

    Michael Newdow, the guy who tried to get the Pledge of Allegiance banned, is now filing a suit to remove the phrase "In God We Trust" from our coinage.

    The atheist who’s spent years trying to ban recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools says he’ll file a new lawsuit this week.

    Michael Newdow says he’ll ask a federal court to order removal of the national motto “In God We Trust” from U-S coins and currency. He says it violates the religious rights of atheists who belong to his “First Amendment Church of True Science.”

    We are all getting bored with this idiots lawsuits. We need someone to take great issue with religious symbols on government property like the crosses marking graves of service men and women which are so prevalent in military cemetaries. Surely that offends somebody somewhere. Some of them have the Star of David on them. Draw up the legal papers and file them in the 9th District out there in San Francisco.

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    Sounds like a good declaration to me.

    From Peter Costello, the treasurer of Australia:
    If you are somebody who wants to live in an Islamic state governed by sharia law you are not going to be happy in Australia, because Australia is not an Islamic state, will never be an Islamic state and will never be governed by sharia law.

    We are a secular state under our constitution, our law is made by parliament elected in democratic elections.

    We do not derive our laws from religious instruction.

    There are Islamic states around the world that practise sharia law and if that’s your object you may well be much more at home in such a country than trying to turn Australia into one of those countries, because it’s not going to happen.

    Saturday, November 12, 2005

    This is a bad sign

    Chinese officials revealed that pigs have tested positive for bird flu in Xiangtan County, Hunan Province, where a bird epidemic is raging and one human death, possibly from bird flu, has already occurred, reported Phoenix TV on November 10. Hunan Province Bureau of Agriculture officials tested samples of pig oral secretions to assess the possibility that bird flu was responsible for the death of a 12-year old girl on October 17th. The girl was cremated the same day that she died, and her ill brother is still in quarantine.

    If this is true it shows that the H5N1 strain has jumped to pigs and its lethality in humans is not limited to the very old or the very young. Epidemiologically this greatly increases the likelihood that the virus could establish a reservoir in multiple species and greatly increase its ability to infect humans. China needs to close down that Province.

    More of this is needed

    President Bush's administration has threatened to sue Southern Illinois University, alleging its fellowship programs for minority and female students violate federal civil rights laws by discriminating against whites, men and others.

    Read the article here.

    The way I read the siuation, it seems pretty clear to me that discrimination on the basis of skin color and gender is fairly obvious in this situation.

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    USS Reagan Passing the Arizona Memorial


    • Top speed exceeds 30 knots
    Powered by two nuclear reactors that can operate for more than 20 years without refueling
    • Expected to operate in the fleet for about 50 years
    • Carries over 80 combat aircraft
    • Three arresting cables can stop a 28-ton aircraft going 150 miles per hour in less than 400 feet

    Towers 20 stories above the waterline

    • 1092 feet long; nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall
    • Flight deck covers 4.5 acres
    • 4 bronze propellers, each 21 feet across and weighing 66,200 pounds
    • 2 rudders, each 29 by 22 feet and weighing 50 tons
    • 4 high speed aircraft elevators, each over 4,000 square feet


    • Dec 8, 1994 Contract awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding

    • Feb 12, 1998 Keel laid

    • Oct 1, 2000 Precommissioning Unit established

    • March 4, 2001 Christened by Mrs Nancy Reagan

    • May 5, 2003 First underway

    • July 12, 2003 Commissioned

    • July 23, 2004 Arrived at homeport in San Diego, CA


    • Home to about 6,000 Navy personnel
    • Carries enough food and supplies to operate for 90 days
    • 18,150 meals served daily
    • Distillation plants provide 400,000 gallons of fresh water from sea water daily, enough for 2000 homes
    • Nearly 30,000 light fixtures and 1,325 miles of cable and wiring
    • 1,400 telephones, 14,000 pillowcases and 28,000 sheets
    • Costs the Navy approximately $250,000 per day for pier side operation
    Costs the Navy approximately $2.5 million per day for underway operations (Sailor's salaries included

    Mark Steyn nails it again.

    I do think that what's pathetic about all Western countries, including the United States, including France, including Canada, and a lot of other countries, is that they make these sort of high school sophist arguments about terrorism, as if it's some sort of theoretical debate. It's not. We're dealing with a very difficult situation here. And if you accord to terrorists all the rights of somebody who gets arrested for holding up a liquor store in Des Moines, you are going to lose to the terrorists, because when you accord them the full rights of somebody who is a criminal, you make it impossible to prosecute this as a war, which is what it is.
    Read the whole interview here.

    Thursday, November 10, 2005

    Buchanan appraisal of Bush performance

    Pat Buchanan has never really seen things the same way Bush did and now he really doesn't. Pat is an old school conservative and Bush is a so-called newer version of conservativism which largely likes foreign entanglements, war and big government more than many of us. Here is the way Buchanan put it.

    Under Bush I, taxes were raised, funding for HUD and Education exploded, and a quota bill was signed under which small businesses, accused of racial discrimination, were made to prove their innocence, or be punished, in true Soviet fashion.

    Under Bush II, social spending has exploded to levels LBJ might envy, foreign aid has been doubled, pork-at-every-meal has become the GOP diet of choice, surpluses have vanished, and the deficit is soaring back toward 5% of GDP. Bill Clinton is starting to look like Barry Goldwater.

    Blair's Dilemma

    Until this week, the proposed anti-terror bill in Great Britain included a plan to extend the period for which police can hold terror suspects without charging them, from 14 to 90 days. But on Wednesday, November 9th, in Mr Blair’s first major parliamentary defeat since becoming prime minister in 1997, the House of Commons voted down the measure by 322 to 291. This is part of a struggle facing not only the British, but the U.S., Australia and other countries which treasure their liberties.
    Benjamin Franklin wrote that “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” He presaged an argument that is raging almost two and a half centuries later. What precisely are the essential liberties which, when given up, make a liberal society unworthy of the name?
    We are faced with struggles over aspects of the Patriot Act where persons deemed particularily dangerous could be held forever and the British are going to settle on a 28 day holding period. There will be cases where any given number doesn't fit the circumstance. For example, with the shorter 28 day period, we may well see things like unsubstantiated charges being leveled which might be avoided if things proceded more deliberately. On the other hand, forever seems like along time to some of us. Terrorism makes rule making tough.

    Wednesday, November 09, 2005

    Only in the movies

    I ran across 40 things that are only seen in the movies. They are pretty funny and I am sure we could all add to the list if we were clever enough. Here are some I thought especially apt.

    All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.

    The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. Nobody will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building undetected.

    One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at once (it's called Stallone's Law).

    This pig won't fly

    The Washington Post looked at the situation in France and came to the conclusion that what the French need to do was put in some good old affirmative action. So, they have a stagnant economy and 10% unemployment. In the face of this, they should start giving nonexistant jobs preferentially to those burning Paris down. It is hard for me to see what this would do except change the source of the riots from the minority to the majority citizens of that pitiful country. I think they would wind up with what is commonly called civil war.

    Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    This could be handy

    The US government has unveiled a "non-lethal" laser rifle designed to dazzle enemy personnel without causing them permanent harm. But the device will require close scrutiny to ensure compliance with a United Nations protocol on blinding laser weapons.
    The US Department of Defense (DoD) believes the weapon could be used, for example, to temporarily blind suspects who drive through a roadblock. However, the DoD has yet to reveal details of how the laser works.
    The PHaSR may attempt to address safety concerns by automatically sensing its distance from a target. The limited information released by the DoD includes mention of an "eye-safe range finder", which may mean the laser's power is adjusted depending on the distance to the target. The system is also said to incorporate a "two wavelength laser system", which may be designed to counter goggles that can filter out certain wavelengths of laser light.

    Athletic Role Models

    I am not a fan of the Hip-Hop culture which black athletes continue to offer as a model for urban kids to emulate. I realize that I am supposed to accept the nonsense that all cultures are equal and one is not superior to another, but I just can't get there. A recent flap over the dress code for black players in the NBA reinforced my distain for these overpaid and selfish parasites. It would be easy to just condemn them, but I started looking for some athletes who could and should be alternatives to the Iversons in the NBA. Two I came up with were Tiki Barber of the New York Giants and Warrick Dunn of the Atlanta Falcons. These two running backs seem to excel off the playing field as well as on it. Barber dresses appropriately and speaks in complete sentences which suggest an above average intelligence. Warrick devotes a large amount of his time and money to charitable activities instead of bling bling and absurd bopping from one mindless activity to another. There are probably others, but I doubt the youth in the hood will notice them.

    Musical Breasts?

    Musical breast implants

    Computer chips that store music could soon be built into a woman's breast implants.

    One boob could hold an MP3 player and the other the person's whole music collection.

    BT futurology, who have developed the idea, say it could be available within 15 years.

    BT Laboratories' analyst Ian Pearson said flexible plastic electronics would sit inside the breast. A signal would be relayed to headphones, while the device would be controlled by Bluetooth using a panel on the wrist.

    According to The Sun he said: "It is now very hard for me to think of breast implants as just decorative. If a woman has something implanted permanently, it might as well do something useful."

    The sensors around the body linked through the electrical impulses in the chips may also be able to warn wearers about heart murmurs, blood pressure increases, diabetes and breast cancer.

    Monday, November 07, 2005

    Amazing church finding in Israel

    A mosaic and the remains of a building uncovered recently in excavations on the Megiddo prison grounds may belong to the earliest church in the world, according to a preliminary examination by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

    One of the most dramatic finds suggests that, instead of an altar, a simple table stood in the center of the church, at which a sacred meal was held to commemorate the Last Supper.

    Photographs of three Greek inscriptions in the mosaic were sent to Hebrew University expert Professor Leah Di Segni, who told Haaretz on Sunday that the use of the term "table" in one of them instead of the word "altar" might lead to a breakthrough in the study of ancient Christianity. It is commonly believed that church rituals based on the Last Supper took place around an altar.

    I think we knew this

    The U.S. Department of Defense sees urban schools as ones of its biggest recruiting obstacles. Not because leftist teachers in some of those schools try to keep recruiters out, but because so many potential recruits have to be turned down because of the poor education they have received in those schools. While only 21 percent of Americans live in rural areas, 44 percent of the qualified recruits come from these areas. What’s strange about all this is that the rural areas spend much less, per pupil, on education, but get much better results. Part of this can be attributed to differences in cost of living, but a lot of it has to do with simply getting more done with less. Per capita, young people in rural areas are 22 percent more likely to join the army, than those of the same age in urban areas.

    Mark Steyn sums up France

    The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

    Saturday, November 05, 2005


    It will be interesting to see if anyone in France will fight for the country.

    "Somebody was telling me about the French Army rifle that was being advertised on eBay the other day -- the description was, 'Never shot. Dropped once.'" Rep. Roy Blunt (MO)

    Friday, November 04, 2005

    Bring it on

    The more I hear about the coming trial of Scooter Libby, the more I am convinced that certain folks who once thought these were really cool indictments may change their mind. Let's wait until Valerie Plame, Joe Wilson, Judy Miller, Tim Russert, Matt Cooper, and others perhaps some in the CIA have their notes and E-mails subpoenaed and they have to testify under oath about all of these matters. From what I read, Ted Wells, Libby's attorney is tough. Libby is a big favorite to be found not guilty.

    Not much sympathy out there

    I have been reading a number of comments related to the situation in Paris on the internet web site hosted by Lucianne Goldberg. It is hard to find much in the way of sympathy for the French. As a matter of fact, the most common reaction is let them burn and rot in hell. The truth of the matter is the French had better get this right the first time. If the Muslims send out a cry for help there are a lot of willing supporters in nearby Germany, Holland, etc and the French simply aren't given to serious suppressive or even defensive activity.

    Chickens come to roost

    Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."

    Read the entire editorial here.

    Thursday, November 03, 2005

    New CBS Poll

    There is a new CBS poll out today which shows that the job approval for Bush is at an all time low of 35%. That will be the headline and the basis for subsequent discussion.

    Now look at the weighted sample:

    Republicans: 223 (23.80%)
    Democrats: 326 (34.79%)
    Independents: 388 (41.4%)

    See how often you hear anything about the internals of polls such as this.

    Joe Wilson's Truthfulness??

    The following is great ending to a column published by Larry Elder questioning the lying by Joe Wilson which is now obvious as we look back on the Libby indictment for lying to the FBI and giving divergent testimony to a Grand Jury. You can read it here, but here is the end of the essay:

    Question: How serious is lying to a federal investigator?

    Answer: Ask Martha Stewart.

    Question: How serious is perjury?

    Answer: Ask former President Bill Clinton.

    Question: Why don't some in the mainstream news media raise stronger questions about Wilson's credibility?

    Answer: Ask someone else.

    Larry Elder is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and publishes a monthly newsletter entitled "The Elder Statement."

    Wednesday, November 02, 2005

    Washington still leaky!

    There is an article in the Washington Post this morning which is entitled

    CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons

    If you go read the article it doesn't take much sleuthing to figure out that the entire article is directly sourced by material from the CIA itself and there is not likely to be a special prosecutor to investigate the specific source of the material. I am saddened by the fact that someone is providing this information for publication, but I am sure glad the prisons are out there somewhere and we have some terrorists locked up there.

    Energy Facts

    Here in Georgia gasoline prices are coming down rather nicely. We are seeing regular at about $2.20/gallon and it is a little cheaper across the river in South Carolina. Most of this is attributed to imports from Asia and Europe. Such is not the case with natural gas. You can tell it is going to be rough when folks in the north and northeast start having to pay $600/month to heat their houses. The way you can tell is the politicians--even the Republicans like Senator Frist--are complaining about the greedy energy companies. The fact, however, is the politicians got us in this situation long ago. There was an oil spill off the coast of California near Santa Barbara in 1969 which precipitated a move to anti-business, pro-environment policies which lead to our current deficit being a "crisis" in the eye of those affected. First there was a ban on drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico (think Florida beaches) that deprived us of 58 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our annual consumption in the U.S. is about 5 trillion. The Rocky Mountain Front was declared out of bounds for drilling and there went access to 11 trillion cubic feet. Clinton took 5.6 million acres of federal land out of play and there went another trillion feet. Given the fact that gas wells do not produce oil spills which spoil beaches, the price for these political realities is going to be high.

    Tuesday, November 01, 2005

    Something for Northeastern Senators to Think About

    The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) applauds President George W. Bush on his nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr., a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, to the position of associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.Judge Alito, whose father immigrated to the United States from Italy, is highly respected in the judicial community for his constitutional knowledge and his impeccable character.President Bush has chosen an individual whose intellect and qualifications are above reproach. We are proud and fortunate that he shares our Italian heritage. Washington, D.C. Oct. 31, 2005.

    The large Italian-American population in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Rhode Island, etc. will be very interested in the vote of one of their senators against Sam Alito.

    I am not sure about this.

    A paper due for publication this week in the journal Nature found that a combination of three drugs applied topically in monkeys prevented infection with a virus similar to the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. The results are among the most promising to date in tests of this approach and point toward a prevention strategy that could save many lives.

    This sounds good, but I wonder how practical it will be. If you are the type of woman who would willingly have sex with someone who may have AIDS and you are not sure, you might not have enough sense to use the product. If you are willingly having sex with someone you know has AIDS, will you trust the gel? If you are a woman in Africa, for example, who is unable to convince a man to use a condom, will you be able to delay sex long enough to use a vaginal gel? Maybe it will have some marginal benefit and I guess that makes it worthwhile to some extent.

    Personal Unsecured Loan